Group activities improve mental function in mild to moderate dementia, study finds

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Structured group activities designed to stimulate cognition has shown to be effective in improving mental function of people with mild or moderate dementia, according to a new analysis.

British researchers examined data from 15 studies with 718 people in which groups of dementia patients took part in structured group activities. Activities included playing show-and-tell with various objects, baking, drawing and other types of games. Activity sessions lasted from 30 to 90 minutes and were held up to five times per week. At the end of the studies, participants completed tests that evaluated their mental functioning.

Participants in the cognitive activity groups performed one or two points better than participants who did not.

"This is showing the people who work in memory care communities and nursing homes and assisted living facilities that they can improve cognitive function, and they need to be providing these kinds of interventions," neuroscientist Robert Winningham, Ph.D., told Reuters.

The study was published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Click here to read the full study.